Getting Through Your Last Year of College
Going to college is a (mostly) wonderful experience. You get to meet a lot of new people, be in a different environment, get involved with lots of things, and have a lot of new experiences socially, academically, environmentally, financially, mentally, and more. It is a very common saying that “freshman year doesn’t count”; well, senior year is undoubtedly the most important part of college.
While college is undoubtedly a great experience, the final year can be incredibly difficult. Because it is the most important year, it is no surprise that students often fall victim to a plethora of issues such as depression and anxiety due to the pressures of academic stress. Once senior year begins, many students look back at their freshman days as the best part of university.
Your final year can be an exhausting emotional rollercoaster, but keep in mind that every day you are one step closer to celebrating your success at graduation, grabbing that diploma, and running free. Here are some tips to help you survive your final year.
Keep Tabs on Your Mental Health
Many students work so hard and stress so much during their final year that they completely neglect their mental health. This can lead to a number of different problems from depression to insomnia, negatively affecting both your academic and social life. Avoid creating a toxic environment for yourself and try your best to take care of yourself and enjoy your senior year.
The major issue most students have is sleep. Failing to get enough sleep is a massive mistake many students make in their final year. Sleep is a wonderful thing and is a remedy for stress relief, benefits your retention skills, and rejuvenates your body and mind. Students who take time to prioritize their sleep tend to achieve better. With enough sleep, you will find yourself more equipped to deal with the workload and stress a lot easier than if you are sleep-deprived.
Another thing to make sure of is to take breaks. Everyone deserves a break and there is only a certain amount of time you can keep working before running out of energy. The issue here is that many students tend to isolate themselves in their final year. During the week of critical deadlines or exam time, many students find that they don’t have enough time to socialize and feel guilty when they go out instead of working.
While time is indeed precious, taking a break and going out with your friends can be a lifesaver. Socialization and blowing off some steam can do wonders for your mental health and put you in a better mindset when you go back to studying.
Absolutely No Procrastination
During your freshman and sophomore, and maybe even junior years you might’ve been able to get away with doing your work last minute. Starting now, it must stop. The assignments that you will have in your final year of college are absolutely not doable overnight. Most of your assignments will be designed to take up an entire semester’s work.
On top of the assignments and exams for your courses, you will most likely have to write a thesis or a dissertation. Giving yourself time to complete your work is essential, it prevents you from panicking and you give yourself time to actually do a good job. Most courses will give you a list of assignments you need to do in the semester during the first week. The most helpful advice I can give is to start as early as possible.
Starting your work early means you can save yourself from unnecessary stress, even if you only get some reading and note-taking done in advance. Or, simply creating a plan and gathering all of the resources that you need will help set things in motion. The point is DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING! Kickstart the process as early as you can, I promise it will save your life.
Organization, Organization, Organization
Being overwhelmed is a horrible feeling most students in college can relate to. It diminishes our ability to perform well and is detrimental to our mental health. Perhaps the most important thing to do during your senior year to prevent feeling like a mess is to create a schedule and stick to it.
You can organize this however you see fit, some might prefer to plan what they intend to do every hour of the day, while others might stick to broader time frames and simply set aside an afternoon in advance for doing pre-reading for a lecture or seminar. Either is completely fine and will suit different people. Creating a schedule will help keep feelings of anxiety at bay (if you stick to it).
You will likely have more than one task to focus on, so a good way to deal with this is to separate your time consistently, this will make navigating between different tasks easier. As important deadlines approach, your routine will inevitably have to adjust in some way, with more time being devoted to meeting crucial, heavily-weighted deadlines while other tasks are less of a priority.
If anything, it is important to be flexible in these instances, as prioritizing your workload will help avoid the necessity of working into the early hours of the morning to finish pieces of work.
Maintain Your Physical Health
Lastly, make sure you are getting enough exercise, whether that’s stretching each morning, going to a yoga class once a week, going for a walk, or doing other forms of physical exercise. Don’t be glued to your desk, get up and move around regularly to boost your immune system and give you the endorphins that you will need to continue working. Try your best to eat a healthy meal once in a while and make sure to drink plenty of water.